The math is simple – Generation Millennial is the largest population since the Boomers.  Their purchasing power commands respect and, savvy businesses spend a great deal of time learning about their needs and creating fulfillment strategies that are effective at a cost level and a customer acquisition/retention level.

A little history to put things in perspective:

  1. “Despite being the best educated cohort in history, Millennials have struggled with persistently high levels of underemployment, which means they’re working in jobs that don’t require their full set of skills or level of education.1”
  2. Excerpted from AMA spoken in the voice of a Millennial: “I want to make money, but I want to be valued. If we have the opportunity to work for an organization that’s flashing us a big pay day, there’s a good chance we will take it. However, if that same job treats us like we’re interns, undervalues us as human beings or our contributions…we’ll stick around for a little while, but we will do so with the utmost intention of (1) finding and securing another job, or (2) becoming an entrepreneur and starting our own company.”
  3. I want flexibility. We’ve spent so much time sitting in classrooms learning about…people sticking up for their rights as workers and as human beings…We want work-life balance and the right to work from home, finish a report on Sunday afternoon…and work in jeans and a T-shirt instead of a suit and tie.
  4. I want immediate gratification. True.  Try growing up with the Internet at your fingertips and then tell me that you wouldn’t be conditioned to expect the same. It’s not as evil as it sounds, though; we expect to get more work done in less time because of it.
  5. I want to give back. News has pretty much always hit our ears in real time. Between the TV, Internet, newspaper, magazines…most of that news is bad news. Shootings, crimes, oil spills, melting ice caps, terrorist attacks…it’s all negative. We want to support the opposite of these bad things; we want to support the good. So, we like to give back.2

In summary, generation millennial is smart, value-driven, mobile, social (digitally), highly educated (lots of student debt), knows how to code (or knows someone who knows how to code) and confronted by underemployment, they represent a potent foundation of energy and optimism from which to create startups.

As they seek to thrive in like-minded communities that cater to their interests, share their purpose-driven values and make the job of succeeding with their startup idea as “frictionless” as possible, the stage is set for co-working space.

Enter stage left (drumroll) – wework! The largest and most successful co-working space provider on the planet. They have set the benchmark and continually invest in their members’ experience. Their concept of “space as a service,” in combination with adopting best practices from hospitality (unlimited fruit water and coffee – free beer is their brand signature), providing space rental on infinitely flexible terms (expand/contract as needed), making it available on a non-binding basis (month-to-month), eliminating set-up costs (space is fully furnished), and connecting worldwide a “community of creators,” has made it “frictionless” for hundreds of thousands of entrepreneurs to say “yes” to wework!

As startups grow up, expectations for services and amenities grow up too. The unfinished wood plank desk may no longer be a good fit for a growth-company’s self- image.   Additionally, enterprises are moving some of their teams into co-working spaces.  They like the excitement of the startup environment, and at the same time, expect certain things like their furniture to be on par with their parent company’s values in terms of safety, comfort and ergonomics.

Furniture upgrades can become part of a retention strategy as it communicates an acknowledgement on the part of the service provider to their members of the members success, and provides their members a daily experience of their success.  Who doesn’t like the comfort and status of the look and feel of upgraded office furnishings?

From the service providers perspective, it costs virtually zero – not a single square inch of rentable real estate.  As an optional amenity, service providers can rent premium furniture, and keep track of it electronically by using RFID tags. They can measure the effectiveness of providing such an amenity by utilizing big data analytics that may be available with certain brands of workplace asset RFID tracking programs, (it is with TygaTrax), and accordingly, measure the ROI before rolling such a program out on a full-scale basis.

Other amenities such as: bike storage, showers, baby changing rooms and yoga and fitness are also appreciated, and cost the co-working service provider is valuable, rentable real estate.

Given that another alternative is to compete on price – which historically translates into a “race to the bottom”, it seems like it may be a worthwhile effort to pilot a furniture upgrade program with a few growth-companies, a few good chairs and obtain feedback on how it makes them feel!  The new amenity may well become “the feel!”



~Originally published in the NYREJ, Nadine Cino LEED AP, CEO and co-inventor of both TygaTrax and TygaBox, offers her wisdom on generation Millennial.